The Bills’ injury problems come at a bad time as they face the Dolphins’ dynamic receivers

Tyreek Hill, who killed the Bills in the past, torched the Ravens secondary for two long touchdowns last week.

ORCHARD PARK – Granted, the Baltimore Ravens’ secondary was lacking last week, and there were also some egregious coverage breakdowns that led to a pair of wide-open touchdowns to Miami’s Tyreek Hill that capped a stunning Dolphins comeback win.

But while many have derided the Ravens for their defensive crisis, let’s not forget the fact that those plays, and so many others in that game, still had to be made by Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense.

Yes, it looked bad, but a big part of the problem for Baltimore is that Miami’s two dynamic wide receivers, Hill and Jaylen Waddle, are great players who suddenly made the Dolphins offense quite dangerous.

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“They’ve made a lot of plays on that team, on both sides of the ball and on special teams,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “Very explosive on offense with what they can do throwing down the field, the yards after the catch … very, very explosive and then Tua is playing at a very high level as well. “

And when you pair all of that with the Buffalo Bills’ worrisome injury situation on defense heading into Sunday’s AFC East championship game at Hard Rock Stadium, that’s a potentially thin spot for the team of McDermott and Leslie Frazier .

“It definitely goes through your mind when you’re putting together your plan for the opponent, when you’re thinking about matchups and what you want to try to accomplish,” Frazier said.

Buffalo Bills injury update

September 19, 2022;  Orchard Park, New York, USA;  Buffalo Bills plasterers and coaches stand around medical personnel attending to Buffalo Bills cornerback Dane Jackson in the second quarter at Highmark Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

September 19, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills plasterers and coaches stand around medical personnel attending to Buffalo Bills cornerback Dane Jackson in the second quarter at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Corner back Dane Jackson he managed to escape a potentially devastating neck/spinal injury, but he is not practicing and probably won’t play in this game. If he doesn’t, that means the Bills will have to start their two rookie corners, Christian Benford and Kaiir Elam, which isn’t ideal against those two pass catchers.

If that’s not enough to give you the shakes, the two Buffalo safeties – Jordan Poyer (foot) and Micah Hyde (neck), who are perhaps the best duo in the league – did not practice Thursday and their status appears to be questionable at best. If they can’t play, JaQuan Johnson and Damar Hamlin will be the last line of defense.

And up front, three defensive tackles could miss the game. Ed Oliver (ankle) and Tim Settle (calf) both sat out the Titans game, and Jordan Phillips He injured his hamstring in the game.

None of that is good in any way.

You know the old saying, “It’s not who you play on your schedule, it’s when you play them” and for Miami’s offense, this looks to be the best possible week to play of Bills.

The injury-riddled Buffalo Bills defense will need to replace Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle

Jaylen Waddle caught 10 passes for 77 yards in two games against the Bills as a rookie in 2021.

Jaylen Waddle caught 10 passes for 77 yards in two games against the Bills as a rookie in 2021.

What makes the combination of Hill and Waddle so explosive and dangerous is their incredible speed which creates a huge dilemma for defensive coordinators like Frazier. Press coverage defenses usually don’t play on the outside because if Hill and Waddle win on their first step, they have the wheels to burn it on anyone.

In case of that, most teams will retreat to the line of scrimmage, but that plays right into Miami’s hands. Tagovailoa is a rhythm passer who relies on Hill and Waddle to create immediate separation, be it lateral routes, slants, or seam passes and allows Tagovailoa to drop back and deliver the ball quickly.

He’s not a quarterback who can consistently stand in the pocket and drive the ball down the field, unless of course, the opposing defense is nowhere to be found and Hill or Waddle are like Yankee Stadium center fielders waiting to reach the ball.

“These guys, they do a great job — their receivers — with catch after catch,” Frazier. “So our ability to be able to tackle the football and be able to tackle the football is going to be very important. Not always just bombs away. They are throwing the ball quickly, making some catches and making people miss.

“It’s not about one man in our scheme; it’s about a joint effort between our rush and our cover together. And there aren’t many men in the league who will stand up and say, ‘I’m going to take Knock an Tirigh one by one. I got it all day.’ He’s a great receiver and one of the best in our business.”

Frazier would know because Hill, of course, has a pretty good history against the Bills from his days in Kansas City. He was one of the most destructive players the Bills had, certainly in the McDermott coaching era. In five career games counting the postseason, he has 37 catches for 446 yards and one touchdown.

“He’s a once-in-a-lifetime player with his speed and ability to go up for contested catches and everything,” McDermott said. “I mean, we’ve gone up against (Hill and Waddle) before, but now they’re on the same field.

“I’ve always thought they were a talented football team over the last few years, going against Miami, that is. Now adding Tyreek Hill to that mix … and it doesn’t just come from the wideouts it seems. It comes from (tight end Mike) Gesicki as well as the running back over there (Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert), so very, very explosive and then Tua playing at a very high level as well.

“They put up a lot of points and they do a great job scheme-wise and Mike (McDaniel) does a great job of setting them up to be successful, so it’s going to be a big challenge for us.”

Sal Maiorana can be reached at maiorana@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana. To subscribe to Sal’s new bi-weekly newsletter, Bills Blast, please follow this link: https://profile.democratandchronicle.com/newsletters/bills-blast

This article originally appeared on the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Buffalo Bills injury report for Week 3 looks troubled on defense.

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